Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz Falsely Lays Claim to Reagan Mantle

The Gipper and Cruz are near total opposites on immigration and amnesty

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Ted Cruz
crooksandliars

The pack of Republican presidential hopefuls has now descended on New Hampshire. Ted Cruz is trying to widen his appeal beyond the Evangelical base that put him over the top in the Iowa caucuses. How? By claiming to be the political heir to Ronald Reagan. 

Today NPR's Morning Edition reported:

Cruz…claimed for himself the one Republican legacy that almost all Republicans agree on – Ronald Reagan.

Cruz: We saw the old Reagan coalition coming together again – we saw conservatives and Evangelicals and libertarians and Reagan Democrats all standing together say "What on Earth is going on?"

Cruz evidently continued:

Marco made the decision, the conscious, deliberate decision to go and stand with Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid and to lead the fight for amnesty.

Sadly, Marco Rubio has now essentially denounced himself for trying to fix the immigration mess.

In any case, do you know who else led the fight for amnesty for undocumented immigrants living in the United States? That would be Ronald Reagan. Here are a couple of salient quotations:

In an Oct. 21, 1984, debate with Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale, Reagan endorsed a comprehensive immigration overhaul that Congress was debating.

"I supported this bill. I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though sometime back they may have entered illegally."

ReganSignsImmigrationReform
Reagan Library

On Nov. 6, 1986, Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which allowed undocumented immigrants to become citizens if they paid a fine and back taxes and admitted guilt. From his signing statement that day:

"We have consistently supported a legalization program which is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America. The legalization provisions in this act will go far to improve the lives of a class of individuals who now must hide in the shadows, without access to many of the benefits of a free and open society. Very soon many of these men and women will be able to step into the sunlight and, ultimately, if they choose, they may become Americans."

On this issue, Cruz, and none of the other Republican presidential candidates have any justification for pretending to be the heirs to Ronald Reagan' s legacy. Trying to claim Reagan's mantle while in the same breath denouncing immigration reform amounts to a kind of political blasphemy.

For more background see my Reason colleague's Matt Welch's superb "The GOP's Nativist Summer" and "Republicans vs. Reagan."

Update: See also my colleague Jacob Sullum's new column, "The GOP's Suicidal Immigration Stance."

NEXT: Here's What Rand Paul Is Saying About Leaving the Presidential Race

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  1. I have proof that Cruz knew Reagan personally and was an acolyte.

    1. That’s some solid proof there, Lee.

  2. The easiest way to be popular is by leeching off the popularity of others. So I propose changing his name from “Ted Cruz” to “Seinfeld.”

    1. Yep. I read this article, and am already dreading the “Obama legacy” crap that I’ll be hearing the rest of my life.

    2. Or “Steinfield” for the Old People vote.

    3. Obama has cynically mentioned Reagan quite a few times to push his agenda.

  3. It’s a good thing we only have to figure a way to resolve the illegal immigration crisis to finally establish Libertopia here on Earth. I never though I’d see the day – we are so tantalizingly close…

  4. You are holy, Ronnie, the only God,
    and Your deeds are wonderful.
    You are strong.
    You are great.
    You are the Most High.
    You are Almighty.
    You, Holy Ronnie are King of heaven and earth.
    You are Three and One, President God, all Good.
    You are Good, all Good, supreme Good, President God, living and true.
    You are love. You are wisdom.
    You are humility. You are endurance.
    You are rest. You are peace.
    You are joy and gladness.
    You are justice and moderation.
    You are all our riches, and You suffice for us.
    You are beauty.
    You are gentleness.
    You are our protector.
    You are our guardian and defender.
    You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope.
    You are our faith, our great consolation.
    You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful President,
    Ronnie Almighty, Merciful Saviour.

    1. You left out the part about how he looks good in his finely tailored suits.

      1. And his hair was perfect.

        1. The audible little *ting* as the light glinted off his teeth was a nice touch.

  5. Ron is only presenting half of the truth.

    The Immigration Reform and Control act also required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status, and made it illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants knowingly. It also legalized illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuousl y with the penalty of a fine, back taxes due, and admission of guilt; candidates were required to prove that they were not guilty of crimes, that they were in the country before January 1, 1982, and that they possessed minimal knowledge about U.S. history, government, and the English language.

    The problem is that this was supposed to legalize those who weren’t guilty of other crimes and who were here already for at least 4 years, while at the same time making it harder for new ones to come here and get jobs. At this time, there were and estimated 3-4 million illegal immigrants. There are now something on the order of 12 million. Some folks don’t want to do the same thing again. That is why the rallying cry has been secure the border first. (Notwithstanding the wisdom or the ability to do this).

    I am not arguing one way or the other in this case. I am merely pointing out that there is more to this than Reagan granted amnesty.

    1. Don’t spoil the narrative.

    2. Made the point much better than I did. Ron is really lying by omission here. He’s regurgitating one of the favorite leftists attacks on Republicans who are anti-immigrant. It’s bad history.

      1. It’s bad history.

        And lazy. That’s the worst part – rush a story out that fits the narrative instead of being thoughtful and rational about it.

    3. BO: What? From the post: Immigration Reform and Control Act, which allowed undocumented immigrants to become citizens if they paid a fine and back taxes and admitted guilt.

      1. And Democrats assured Reagan that it was a 1-time deal and that they would fund better boarder security in return for the deal. They reneged on that part of the deal and Reagan regretted the whole thing. He reportedly called it “the biggest mistake of his presidency”.

        http://www.vdare.com/posts/ed-…..86-amnesty

        So yes – Cruz probably is closer to Reagan on policy than anyone else in the race.

        1. It was a 1-time deal, they want amnesty for a different set of illegals now

    4. Bingo. And when amnesty was granted, but other terms of the agreement (e.g., greater border security) did not materialize, Reagan later said he regretted the decision.

  6. It’s good to know that Reason writers are apparently single-issue voters, and that single issue they have decided to prioritize is immigration. I look forward to a dozen more attack articles on Cruz for his failings.

    Reagan was talked into backing immigration ‘reform’ under the false premise that it would lead to stronger border protection. As in, we’d secure the border and keep more out, but give a pathway to those here. It failed completely on the one part and Reagan would not have endorsed that. Haven’t members of his cabinet come out and said as much? I’m not even going to bother looking it up. This is the sort of article I’d expect on Slate, only without as many backhanded compliments of Reagan. It misrepresents the actual history.

    Reagan was not a supporter of open borders. And, frankly, Reason seems to prioritize it over seemingly every other issue. The federal government is too incompetent for any mass deportation scheme.

    1. Well, after Rotherham and Cologne they have to polish the Open Border Turd somehow. May as well do so by attacking Trump Cruz or whomever else doesn’t tow their lion.

    2. B: From the Examiner article on Reagan and immigration to which I linked in the post:

      [Reagan speechwriter Peter] Robinson also pointed out that Reagan was opposed to a border fence and using military as guards. He said Reagan’s personal journals mention his opposition of a military-staffed border fence. He also told then-Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo that he wanted the U.S/Mexico border to be “something other than the location for a fence.”

      Robinson did say that Reagan did want immigration enforcement toughened, but not at the expense of an amnesty program. “I think he would have felt taking those 3 million people and making them Americans was a success,” he said.

      I don’t think that I’m the one who is failing to be thoughtful and rational – and if my post is too short, you might want to look at the Welch and Sullum articles to which I so thoughtfully linked for more “thoughtful and rational” background.

      As for being “single issue” – I suppose that the many other articles my colleagues have been reporting with regard to the Republican candidates’ proposed economic policies, taxes, health care, and foreign policy are insufficient?

      1. Forget it, Ron; it’s ‘Great Wall of Texas’-town.

      2. On this issue, Cruz, and none of the other Republican presidential candidates have any justification for pretending to be the heirs to Ronald Reagan’ s legacy. Trying to claim Reagan’s mantle while in the same breath denouncing immigration reform amounts to a kind of political blasphemy.

        And next you’re going to tell us that this paragraph isn’t just a tad hyperbolic.

      3. “his opposition of a military-staffed border fence”

        The United States Border Patrol isn’t a part of the military, so he could want more security at the border with out wanting to have a military-staffed border, so that statement doesn’t really mean anything other than not wanting military at the border.

        “He also told then-Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo that he wanted the U.S/Mexico border to be “something other than the location for a fence.””

        Is obviously talking about improved relations and trade, not open immigration.

        “”I think he would have felt taking those 3 million people and making them Americans was a success,” he said.”

        An opinion.

      4. So we empirically have evidence that granting amnesty and other significant outreaches did not significantly change the voting preferences of latinos for big government, yet we’re told to believe that the thoughtful position is that it will.

        Now I’m sure the position will morph that they just didn’t offer enough which is a completely rational position totally unlike Krugmann’s counterfactual that we just didn’t stimulate enough.

      5. The point was that Reagan made the deal under the pretense that border patrol would stiffen and employers would have disincentives to hiring illegals. So when talking about placing the military on the border, that’s basically a moot point which had nothing to do with Cruz’s stated positions. The article makes it seem as if the current Republican party is completely out of touch with Reagan on this issue while ignoring how many do perceive the program as a failure for its inability to stem the tide of illegal immigrants.

        So, if you are going to cover this issue, some nod to how and why the position has changed would be appropriate.

        As for Welch’s artilce you linked to: “That was then. President Reagan’s 1986 amnesty, which was sold as a way to drastically reduce illegal immigration, was instead followed by a major increase.”

        I wonder if Reason will print an article on Bernie and Hillary flipping their position on immigration (Bernie sees open borders as a neoliberal plot) and question their bona fides?

      6. I do want to be clear on one thing. I actually am a supporter of open borders, but given this current crop of candidates, it is very low on the totem pole of issues right now. So it’s a redundant article that simplifies Reagan’s position and some of the articles it links to do the same.

        1. Agreed. I’m all for making immigration as easy as possible (I haven’t convinced myself of 100% open borders, but at least making it super easy and removing gov’t from 90% of it), but the amount of time devoted to it here, and the amount of pants-shitting is unbelievable.

  7. I finally realized who Ted reminds me of, Ernest Angley! Say baybee!

    1. Mr. Haney from Green Acres.

    2. He hasn’t started healing through the television but if he does, it’ll damn sure be entertaining.

  8. OT, but appropriate for a Bailey post: California moves forward with Prop 63 website.

    https://chemicalwatch.com/44802

    1. A long time ago I pointed out to a colleague of mine all those notices and signs posted almost everywhere, prompted by Prop 65 (the notices all said “Warning – this facility contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harms”) I told him that I found the effect of the legislation completely irrelevant.

      He assured me that Proposition 65 was an important piece of legislation because it helped the public know about potentially harmful chemicals in places they visited. I told him that the mere fact every single property owner placed those signs in their property, whether commercial or otherwise, completely defeated the purpose of informing the public of potentially harmful chemicals by making it seem that all of California was riddled with potentially harmful chemicals that could cause cancer or birth defects, thus rendering the information meaningless. He just gave a nod in agreement but I have the feeling he still didn’t get it.

      1. those notices and signs posted almost everywhere

        I lived in CA for one annus horribilus and worked the front desk at a hotel. Imagine having to explain that stupidity over and over again to one guest after another.

  9. Ted Cruz Falsely Lays Claim to Reagan Mantle

    I thought that mantle was auctioned off a long time ago….

    Oh, wait… you meant his political image.

  10. Brown pinstripes? The internets would have a tediously predictable field day with that.

    1. I’m more concerned about that guy in the back who clearly didn’t get the memo about dark jackets for the signing ceremony. Why didn’t Reagan have him Stalined out of the photo/world?

  11. That’s actually a decent picture of Cruz. Usually he looks like either a wax grotesque or a blow-up doll.

  12. Cruz came so close to having my support if Rand dropped out. But he didn’t wait for Rand to drop out to completely lose any chance of me supporting him. First the Snowden comment, then the seeming walking away from anything even remotely libertarian, then the jeebus trip. I could care less about any of the remaining candidates now in the big tents, they all suck. Gary Johnson, again, unless by some miracle Super Libertarian Dude comes out of a phonebooth with a super hero uniform and cape. Gadsen flag on cape and pot leaf on front of uniform.

    1. You can console yourself with the fact that your vote never mattered anyway.

      1. I voted for Hogan and he fucking won, to my total disbelief, so there!

        I mean I only done it because I KNEW that my vote doesn’t count and I sort of hate the democrats here with the passion of a thousand exploding supernovas.

        1. I didn’t know the Hulkster was even running.

        2. Whatcha gonna do, brother?

  13. Marco Rubio has now essentially denounced himself for trying to fix the immigration mess.

    Well, his plan was shit, and he should be denounced, unless you belong to the “We must do something, this is something” school of policy development.

    1. Shiny new Establishment Boy will do as the establishment tells him to do, nothing more, nothing less.

      Here’s what you can expect from Rubio:

      Moar War.

      Moar Drug War.

      Moar cronyism.

      Moar support of terrible new freedom killing laws.

      Need I say moar again?

      1. Hyperion has seen the future.

          1. Is slightly chubby Emma Stone pregnant? Her boobs are huge.

          2. Also damn you for posting that link. Now my Pandora is going to Rubio ads instead of Rand Paul ads.

            1. *play Rubio ads

        1. My prognostications come true more often that not. Be afraid ye of little faith, be very afraid!

          1. I’m only afraid of Rubio because I’m pupaphobic.

    2. Trying to claim Reagan’s mantle while in the same breath denouncing immigration reform amounts to a kind of political blasphemy.

      Again, the notion that all immigration reform is basically interchangable, so you can’t support one proposal without supporting any and all proposals, seems to spring from the “we must do something” school of policy development.

      You agree we must do something. Well, this is something, but you oppose it. Blasphemer!

  14. Didn’t Reagan say he regretted that though?

    Cruz is a more Reagan, Reagan?

    1. If Cruz is Reagan, that means he’s going to triple down on the WOD, right?

      1. Of course.

        Just say no, no, no?

  15. I look forward to a day when Republicans stop gobbling Reagan’s knob.

    1. Yeah, me too. I lived through the Reagan presidency and it sure as hell wasn’t nirvana. I’m not sure what he did to deserve canonization.

      1. He temporarily slowed our spiral into a socialist welfare state.

        1. +1 Department of Veterans’ Affairs

        2. I don’t know that any slowing of a spiral (which is debatable in my view) was significant in light of the other things he did. He blew the budget with his military spending, creating the precedent for the gigantic deficits and debt ballooning of those who followed. As Dick Cheney once said, he proved that deficits don’t matter politically. He also proved that you could have a blatantly illegal program within the administration without any political consequences. He propped up murderous regimes simply because they weren’t communist. And on and on.

  16. Why are we talking about this shit as opposed to the fact that thanks to Trump’s stupidity, Cruz has a slam-dunk libel suit against him?

    1. Hitler?

  17. Fuck Reagan and fuck Cruz for impersonating a goddamn gone icon. Be your own motherfucking force, Slick.

  18. Reagan, traditional marriage, Judeo-Christian values, increase military spending…

  19. Anyone who doesn’t admit that amnesty is inevitable is not being serious on this issue. You can’t deport 12 million+ people and you also can’t prevent them from having better lives her than they would have wherever they came from. If you don’t deport them then any other policy is de facto amnesty. The best we can do is selectively enforce, hopefully focusing on those few illegal immigrants who also break non-immigration laws.

    I think the best solution is to offer a path to residency that involves paying back taxes, paying for a background check, and forgoing any chance at ever becoming a citizen. Do that and you can be a legal permanent resident. If you want to be a citizen then you have to leave and come back legally. The other end of the solution is to reduce the number of new illegal immigrants, and the only effective way to do this will be to drastically expand the avenues for legal immigration. Building a giant wall is just too expensive and tacky.

    1. I think the best solution is to offer a path to residency that involves paying back taxes, paying for a background check, and forgoing any chance at ever becoming a citizen.

      You realize that’s not amnesty, right?

  20. Naturally, if Reagan is known for one thing it is his wildly popular and well-known immigration policy. Really, it’s the only thing people remember him for these days. Obviously a person must be referring to that and only that when they claim to be in the mold of Reagan’s politics.

    Much like how Star Wars fans are always and everywhere talking about their eternal love for the Holiday Special when they call themselves “Star Wars fans”.

    1. Stop! Bailey’s head’ll explode!

  21. we saw conservatives and Evangelicals and libertarians and Reagan Democrats all standing together

    No True Libertarian would ever stand with the rest of those losers.

    1. Because they look like winners by comparison?

  22. 1) Reagan was not a non-interventionist.

    2) Cruz is more mixed on immigration than Bailey gives credit for. Cato had a write-up n this.

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